Oxford, Michigan is the kind of town most Americans would be grateful to live in. The school district was recently named one of the best in Michigan. The median household income is $53,885, and the median income for a family $72,875, both well over the national average. The village of less than 4,000 inhabitants is 95 percent white, even though Oxford is less than an hour from Detroit.
The school district's mission is to create "lifelong inquirers who are caring, contributing members of a global society." While some students might reach that goal, the parents of at least one student were experiencing the opposite: the downward slide that's afflicting so much of middle class America.
On Tuesday, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, an Oxford High School sophomore, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, was arrested and charged with killing three students and injuring seven others and a teacher.
The New York Post, in true tabloid fashion, was on the story fast - fast enough to gather details from social media pages before they were removed. Until that day, the story of Ethan and his parents sounds so normal it's almost boring.
According to the Post, LinkedIn showed that Ethan's father, James Crumbley, worked as an account executive at an office supply company in the Detroit area. James Crumbley's Facebook page, which has been removed, stated that he previously worked as a business development executive.
Crumbley’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley, is a real estate agent, according to the Post, which accessed her Realtor.com profile and a now-deleted realtor bio from her Clarkston, Michigan, real estate company.
Ethan's parents bought a 9mm pistol on Black Friday, America's national shopping spree, reportedly as a Christmas present for their son. It was an extravagant gift in a family that was struggling, by their own accounts.
A SIG SAUER SP2022 pistol is currently worth an average price of $571.27 new and $472.28 used. The 12 month average price is $571.27 new and $472.59 used.
The new value of a SIG SAUER SP2022 pistol has fallen ($60.91) dollars over the past 12 months to a price of $571.27 . The used value of a SIG SAUER SP2022 pistol has fallen ($38.05) dollars over the past 12 months to a price of $472.28.
Four days later, Ethan was arrested with the gun and three 15-round magazines. There were 11 rounds in the handgun and magazine and another seven in his pocket.
What could be more normal? More American?
Mr. Trump, I actually love that you are a bad public speaker because that showed sincerity, and humility. You changed your mind, and you said ‘so what.’ You made the famous ‘grab them in the pussy’ comment, did it offend me? No. I say things all the time that people take the wrong way, do I mean them, not always. Do I agree that you should of [sic] shown your tax returns? No. I don’t care what you do or maybe don’t pay in taxes, I think those are personal and if the Gov’t can lock someone up over $10,000 of unpaid taxes and you slipped on by, then that shows the corruption.
Except for Americans cloistered in the Big Blue Ghettos of the Upper West Side and Berkeley, most of us are accustomed to occasionally agreeing with even the most rabid anti-vax, Squad-hating Trump voters, even if we do it silently and somewhat grudgingly. Like them, we hate American health insurance and if we're parents, we're unhappy with the Common Core curriculum that, as it turns out, leaves lots of kids behind.
And if we make $40,000 a year, well, we're fucked, too. That was Jennifer Crumbly's cri de coeur to Donald Trump.
You see Mr. Trump I can go on and on, in fact I used to think Democrat. I don’t believe in God and Im quite opposite of your typical “republican”. But now I am 38 years old. I have a family. My husband and I both work full time jobs. I have watched our insurance premiums double. I cannot afford to buy into this Obamacare. For my family its over $600 a month with deductibles. We bust our ass Mr. Trump. I pay taxes, my husband pays his child support, I donate to charities.. We are good fucking Americans that cannot get ahead. And what makes me sick, is people that come over here from other countries and get free everything.
You see Mr. Trump, I need you to stop common core. My son struggles daily, and my teachers tell me they hate teaching it but the HAVE to. Their pay depends on these stupid fucking test scores. I have to pay for a Tutor, why? Because I can’t figure out 4th grade math. I used to be good at math. I can’t afford a Tutor, in fact I sacrifice car insurance to make sure my son gets a good education and hopefully succeeds in life. My parents teach at a school where their kids come from illegal immigrant parents. Most of their parents are locked up. They don’t care about learning and threaten to kill my mom for caring about their grades. Do you realize Mr. Trump that they get free tutors, free tablets from our Government so they can succeed. Why cant my son get those things, do we as hard working Americans not deserve that too?
My husband suffered a stroke and a broken back and we were with just my income. Do you know how hard it is to support a family on only $40,000 a year? I couldn’t qualify for State Aid. I made to much.
Mr. Trump, this is why I voted for you. I see the change that we so desperately need. I see jobs coming back, people having to work for their handouts, money going to who really deserve it. Big Pharma taken down, Monsanto stop poisoning us. Jobs given back to our American workers. I believe YOU are the President who will make these things happen. I have NEVER had this much belief in one person, and you are it.
If this blog even makes it to your eyes…thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
A hard working Middle Class Law Abiding Citizen who is sick of getting fucked in the ass and would rather be grabbed by the pussy.
Jennifer thanked Trump for "allowing my right to bear arms. Allowing me to be protected if I show a home to someone with bad intentions. Thank you for respecting that Amendment," she wrote, explaining the importance to her as a woman and a "Realtor."
But the 9mm apparently wasn't for Jennifer. It was a Christmas present for Ethan.
Ethan Crumbley was, by all accounts, a rather sweet kid when he was younger. A bit nerdy, perhaps, round-faced and bespectacled, interested in archaeology and Minecraft.
When Ethan Crumbley was in the fifth grade, reporters covering an exhibit where students presented solutions to real-life problems featured Ethan for his group project focused on poverty and hunger.
“I see people that are on the streets sometimes that are homeless and hungry, and so I feel like I should take action and help them,” he said.
But at 15, Ethan had taken to wearing all black and not socializing with other students. Children of angry parents can become depressed, alienated, and feel marginalized from their peers, said Douglas LaBier, a psychologist in Washington, D.C. The trauma can lead to acting out, and adolescents are often oblivious to consequences.
His father had taken Ethan to buy the gun at Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford. The Daily Beast reported that Ethan referred to it that night on Instagram as his “new beauty.”
Jennifer wasn't showing a home the day she posted a picture online, with the caption: “mom and son day testing out his new xmas present.”
This is the account in the Daily Beast:
By Monday...Ethan’s new present, which was kept in an unsecured drawer in his parents’ bedroom, was already causing concern at Oxford High School.
A teacher found Ethan searching for ammunition on his cell phone during class and reported it to higher-ups. Administrators left a voicemail for Jennifer Crumbley and followed up with an email, but received no response.
“Lol, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” Jennifer texted her son.
According to Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, on Tuesday Jennifer and James were called in to meet with a school counselor after a teacher saw disturbing drawings on Ethan Crumbley’s desk.
The drawings included a picture of a semi-automatic handgun pointed at the words “the thoughts won’t stop, help me” and “blood everywhere,” along with a picture of someone shot and bleeding. The drawing also contained the lines “my life is useless” and “the world is dead.”
By the time the meeting took place, Ethan had altered the drawing to make it less disturbing, but his frightened teacher had apparently already snapped a picture of the original version. Ethan's parents did not inspect his backpack or ask him about the gun, according to the prosecutor.
McDonald also said the parents declined to take Ethan home after the meeting, which she said was a mistake, insisting he should not have been allowed to re-enter the classroom.
When news of the shooting broke, Jennifer texted her son again, saying, “Ethan, don’t do it.”
James rushed home to check his guns.
On Friday, Jennifer and James Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The prosecutor cited that moment when Ethan Crumbley got in trouble at school and his mother responded via text: “…you have to learn not to get caught.”
He didn't learn. Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult and held without bond at a county jail, although he was separated from adult inmates. He had been taken into custody within five minutes of the first shot fired. He did not resist, surrendering to authorities.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, McCabe said there is regularly a sheriff’s deputy stationed at the school, and that deputy — along with another assisting deputy — took the suspect into custody.
In addition to four counts of first-degree murder, he faces one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He had recorded videos the night before detailing his plans, and also wrote in a journal about “his desire to shoot up the school to include murdering students,” Lt. Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office told the arraignment.
The prosecutor said the attack was “absolutely premeditated.”
“I am absolutely sure after reviewing evidence that it isn’t even a close call."
On Thursday night, Ethan's parents disappeared, leaving in their 2021 Kia. By Friday, U.S. marshals were hunting for them. They were arrested that night in Detroit after a community member tipped off police.
How the Middle Class Does It
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said at an earlier press conference that Crumbley’s parents told authorities they did not want their son to speak with them. Consent from parents is required for juveniles, McCabe said, and the teen invoked his Sixth Amendment rights not to speak to police without an attorney present.
Last week's massacre in Michigan was the deadliest school shooting since 2018 when 10 were killed in a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, according to the Associated Press/USA Today/Northeastern University Mass Killings database.
The U.S. has had 31 mass killings this year, of which 28 involved firearms.
From the Detroit Free Press:
UPDATE, 12:22 p.m. Wednesday: A fourth victim, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, died due to his injuries at 10 a.m. Wednesday at McLaren Oakland Hospital, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said.
UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. Wednesday:The Oakland County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday clarified that the suspect still had 18 rounds of ammunition left at the time he was arrested.
A 15-year-old Oxford High School sophomore, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, is accused of killing three students and injuring seven others and a teacher.
The victims were Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.
The incident unfolded in about five minutes and police said the shooter, who was not injured, was arrested after deputies stopped him coming down a hall with a 9mm handgun with rounds of live ammunition.
Of those injured, the 47-year-old teacher with a grazing bullet wound had been discharged, while the children ages 14 through 17 years old were in conditions ranging from stable to critical, with injuries to extremities, chests, necks and heads.
One 14-year-old girl was on a ventilator Tuesday night.
Surveillance footage, Bouchard would later say, showed the suspect come out of a bathroom with the handgun.
What the Students Said
Students said teachers locked and barricaded doors, covered windows — and some students hid. Those with cellphones quietly texted to alert their parents and friends what was happening. Students were in tears.
Some students said they could hear loud bangs.
By early afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said it had taken the suspect — and the handgun — into custody. Officials said they were shocked and devastated and asked for prayers.
The suspect, police said, asked for an attorney.
Some parents later said, even before the shooting, rumors had been circulating that a school shooting was going to happen, and some students even said that they had decided not to attend.
Robin Redding, the parent of a 12th grader, told the Associated Press that there had been rumblings of trouble at the school.
“He was not in school today," she said. "He just said that 'Ma I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids that we go to school with are going today.'"
Jody Job, chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party and a candidate for the state house in 2020, said her son didn’t go to school Tuesday because "he felt like something was going to go down."
“I think there was just a level of discomfort with some of the students," she said. "I don't know what they're communicating to each other. That's a whole other world I'm not a part of."
Journalist Matt Cooper noted on Twitter that a group of students showed extraordinary presence of mind.
It may have saved their lives.
Crumbley’s half-brother Eli spoke to the Daily Mail, describing his younger sibling as a “happy” and “average” kid who loved the game Minecraft and wanted to be an archaeologist. The two moved together from Florida to Michigan.
“It’s still hard to believe... The Ethan I knew was just a smart boy who just seemed like an average kid. There was nothing that ever stood out to me. He’d never get suspended from school, or detention,” Eli, 18, said, adding that he had no idea about Ethan’s possible motive.
Students at the high school had recently performed a live radio play of It's a Wonderful Life.
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Vigilante Man ::: Parker Milsap
The Gun ::: Lou Reed
Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground ::: Blind Willie Johnson
Fado Malhoa ::: Lula Pena
Hard Times, Killing’ Floor ::: Skip James
The Day Is Passed & Gone ::: The Spirit of Memphis
Happiness Is A Warm Gun ::: The Beatles
The Lord Is In This Place, How Dreadful Is This Place ::: Fairport Convention
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